Gen 3, 9-15.20; Eph 1, 3-6.11-12; Luke 1, 26-38
Let me first clarify a point because there is always a misunderstanding. In the description of the upcoming movie recommended by the Vatican and major church leaders called, “The Nativity”, one writer described it as the story of the “immaculate conception of Jesus” --- referring the feast of the Immaculate Conception with the birth of Jesus. However, the Immaculate Conception refers to the birth of Mary. It means that Mary's birth, by the grace of God, is free her whole life long of every personal sin because she will be the Mother of Jesus --- the Mother of God.
Why do we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary? First, the Immaculate Conception is the Principal Patroness of the
Second, I believe that there is something to the Immaculate Conception that makes us want her to be our model of living a Christian life. Mary is a model of holiness. But what is holiness? John Brown defines holiness as “thinking as God thinks and willing as God wills.” That means holiness is about having the mind, the heart and arms of God. It is not about having mystic visions, almost austere lifestyle, cloistered halls of the monastery, or organ music, long prayers, religious-sounding chants. Holiness is the everyday business of every Christian. It evidences and manifests itself in the decisions we make and things we do, hour by hour, day by day. Mary was doing her everyday chores, but she was holy. She was a simple, pure woman --- not a queen, a celebrity or a rich girl.
The Immaculate Conception, whose feast we celebrate today, illustrates God's strange way of choosing people to become the instruments of his plans. And yet the angel Gabriel at the moment of the Annunciation salutes her as "full of grace." To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role." At the Announcement that she would give birth to "the Son of the Most High" without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that "with God nothing will be impossible": "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done according to Your word." Thus, giving her consent to God's word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus.
In other words, we celebrate the Immaculate Conception because we celebrate a possibility: that any ordinary human being such as Mary and all of us, can be holy. It celebrates the possibility that we can think as God, feel as God, and live as God’s children. Thus, there is a holy studying; a holy taking a bath; a holy washing one’s clothes; a holy walking to the next building for class; a holy talking to one’s friends; a holy combing of one’s hair. There is even a holiness when you sit on the john. Our excretory system gets rid of all the toxins in our bodies. And if our body removes what is unhealthy, then if we think as God thinks, then sitting on the john is how God preserves our life. See how good God is to us! Holiness is about every single moment of every day.
Perhaps a good thing if we ask: How can I be holy? Suggestion: Resolve never to do anything that you would be afraid to do, if it is your last hour in your life. Huwag mong gawin ang matatakot kang gawin kung ika’y malapit nang mamatay.